|By Marketwire .||
|September 26, 2012 06:30 AM EDT||
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 09/26/12 -- As summer slowly fades into autumn, school kids across the country are beginning to look forward to a snow-filled Christmas. Yet whilst they dream of Santa Claus and his elves preparing presents in their workshops, another part of the Christmas story is actually playing a vital role in the day-to-day life of Western Europe's only remaining indigenous group.
There are about 100,000 Sami people living in the Lapland province, which is spread across Norway, Russia, Finland and Sweden. The Sami have been herding reindeer for at least 800 years and these legendary animals remain their largest source of income.
One of the largest Sami groups in Finland is the Hirvas Salmi, who herd reindeer all-year round within the Arctic Circle. It takes three weeks to round-up 2,000 of these magical creatures from the Lappish mountains, with each herder recognising his own reindeer by a unique earmark. The reindeer provide meat for the Sami to eat and sell, with the hides and antlers used to make warm clothing and knife handles.
The reindeer herding tradition has been passed from father to son for centuries, but now the Hirvas Salmi are training a new generation of herders. From a young age, girls and boys from all across Lapland can travel to a 'reindeer school' in Finland five times a year to learn the age-old techniques of their Sami heritage.
So if you're looking for family holiday ideas, why not take a festive trip to this spectacular winter wonderland to see these fantastic animals with your own eyes? Just a 3.5-hour flight will take you deep into the heart of Lapland, where you can choose to spend a 2, 3 or 4-day trip exploring the icy landscape.
Lapland holidays combine exciting winter activities with a relaxing resort stay for a truly unforgettable break from everyday life. After enjoying a thrilling reindeer sleigh ride, a local Sami guide will initiate you into icy wilderness with a traditional Arctic ceremony around a roaring campfire. A festive sing-a-long in the forest is then followed with a sumptuous Christmas Gala meal and a visit from Santa Claus himself, bringing lots of presents for everyone. And with temperatures between 0 and 26 degrees C, the kids will be guaranteed to enjoy an enchanting white Christmas underneath the glittering Northern Lights.
If you're looking to take a magical escape this Christmas, book a Cosmos trip to Lapland from Manchester or London Gatwick with from just GBP 565 per adult and GBP 465 per child, with free travel insurance now available on all holidays.